Ph.D. Student in History, Harvard University; Graduate Student Affiliate & Krupp Foundation Dissertation Research Fellowship Recipient, Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
April 28, 2023
2:00pm - 3:15pm
Goldman Room, Adolphus Busch Hall
The Dissertation Workshop is a graduate educational seminar open to graduate students and their advisors. CES invites graduates students who are interested in attending this workshop or in presenting their research to contact Nikolas Weyland, CES Dissertation Workshop Coordinator.
David Barkhausen is a research associate and third-year graduate student in political science at Heidelberg University, Germany. Currently, he is a visiting research scholar at Brown University. In his dissertation project he examines the question of how German monetary history and the resulting 'stability culture' impacts public discourse and resulting monetary and fiscal policy decisions in the Eurozone. Outside of his dissertation, his work concentrates on the interplay of communication, history, and political economy.
For a profound understanding of today’s institutional framework within the European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), one must consider the history of the Eurozone and its different members, especially the history of its most populous and economically strongest member, Germany.
According to a broad consensus in the pertinent literature, the experiences of Germany’s monetary history not only created a deeply engrained national culture of stability but a lasting fear of inflation among the German population and policymakers. What is more, unlike any other national cultural background, tradition or history, Germany’s pecuniary past decisively shaped the newly founded Eurozone, as the subsequent policy lessons of its stability culture were transposed to the Eurozone’s communal rules and institutions. The nucleus of this stability heritage is the institutional model of the independent, stability-oriented Bundesbank, which was mirrored in the design of the European Central Bank (ECB). Furthermore, strict fiscal rules for new debt and deficits as well as in the prohibition of mutual bailouts were adopted as a further protective barrier against instability and inflation.
However, since the signing of the Maastricht Treaty, this culture of stability has been subject to pervasive change and deviation in policy and institutional reform, which have been greatly accelerated by the effects of the Eurozone crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic. Barkhausen's dissertation project examines the discursive and practical conditions of such change. Specifically, the project examines the discursive validity of Germany’s stability heritage within the German, European, and international debate by examining speeches, press releases, interviews, and other contributions of decisive political actors for salient evaluative structures and changing argumentative patterns. Secondly, it investigates the degree of factuality of the stability culture and scrutinizes whether and to what extent routine practices of financial market actors such as credit rating agencies confirm or question change and continuity.